She and her ideological sisters at Ms. Magazine seem to have overlooked some particularly sound advice in the Athenian admiral’s account of Pericles’ “Funeral Oration.” In his speech, Pericles suggests that “not to be talked about for good or evil among men” is a woman’s “great glory.” His concern is not the limitation or restriction of women and their actions, but rather their ennoblement; he does not think they should be subject to gossip and rumor. Women want—and deserve— privacy, Pericles seems to be saying.
Of course, Ms. Magazine’s newest issue disregards that proposition. The new issue of the magazine, which hit newsstands on Oct. 10, features the cover story “We Had Abortions,” a medley of testimonials by women who elected to abruptly terminate their pregnancies. The feature includes a petition signed by “thousands” of other women attesting to having had an abortion.
It tries to be harrowing, introspective, and devastating, but mostly comes across as silly and intellectually incoherent. The most widely deployed rationale among pro-choicers justifies abortion as a private matter, a kind of tragic decision of women affecting their bodies and their lives, with which an overzealous, Puritanical, and totalitarian government must not interfere.
Yet by airing all this laundry, Ms. Magazine denies the very consciousness it tries to create. It ostensibly wishes to grant women privacy, yet publicly broadcasts the names, faces, and personal stories of women who have had abortions. The legal defense of abortion rests on a strong veil between the public and private. Yet Ms. Magazine relishes in thrusting these women into the spotlight.
Moderate pro-choicers everywhere should be embarrassed. Ms. Magazine celebrates abortion as a liberating act of feminism, a truly revolutionary tenor to strike even amidst the cacophonous abortion debates. Most Americans—pro-life and pro-choice—don’t like abortion and they especially don’t praise the procedure itself. What Americans do disagree on is whether it should be permitted—“safe, legal, and rare” or not at all. Ms. Magazine celebrates a tragedy and in doing so weaves a farce.
The women in Ms. Magazine are B-list abortion celebrities. They want to thrust their lives onto the world, get their pictures taken, and be talked about. They have taken a grave issue, deprived it of the thoughtful and reasonable debate that it merits, and shamelessly paraded it in front of the cameras. All of this just to sell a few more magazines.
The private lives of individual women—and certainly reproduction falls within that realm—should not be of public concern. Women deserve better.
Christopher B. Lacaria ’09, a Crimson editorial editor, is a history concentrator in Mather House.